In order to be one of the best high school basketball players in the Sacramento region, mastering the fundamentals is a prerequisite.
Approximately 50 kids did just that this week at the 22nd annual Oak Ridge Summer Basketball Camp, held in the Trojans’ gym that began Monday and ran through yesterday. The camp, separated into afternoon and evening sessions for girls and boys, respectively, was geared toward players entering fifth grade to incoming high school freshmen.
According to Oak Ridge High girls basketball coach Steve White, 20 girls participated inside the Trojans’ gym and 30 boys worked out with Trojan boys hoops coach Bob Edwards.
“A couple of years ago, we did the boys and girls combined, but different age groups,” White said.
The kids learned the fundamentals of dribbling the basketball. One of the drills included the “Figure 8” drill of dribbling the ball around in the number 8 formation. They also worked on bounce passes and slides, in which a player slides down the court throwing the ball to a teammate.
“Give your partner a target so they know where to throw it,” shouted former Oak Ridge guard Ali Bettencourt during Wednesday’s session. Last season, Bettencourt helped lead the Lady Trojans to the Delta River League title and a NorCal berth.
During Wednesday’s session, girls worked on speed dribbling and passing the ball. One notable move White pointed out to campers: When they pass the ball, bring the ball to the top of the players’ head and not take it behind them. That could cause an opponent to steal the ball and take it down the court for a basket.
“We’re trying to teach them fundamentals and give them drills that they can go out and practice on their own,” White said. “So they can be better for the following year.”
In addition to working on offensive skills, the campers are taught fundamental defensive skills, such as man-to-man defense and protecting the ball.
Some newcomers to the camp were sisters Jenna and Mia Thompson, both of El Dorado Hills, who are now hooked on basketball.
“It’s fun to learn about basketball,” said Jenna, 9.
One of the drills Mia, 10, likes is the behind the back and crossover drills because, she said, “It’s fun to do and it’s easy.”
Bettencourt, headed to San Jose State on a scholarship, served as one of the coaches and enjoys working with the younger girls.
“Such an amazing feeling,” Bettencourt said. “Just seeing them get excited when they do something new, or finally get down a certain move they have been working on. It always puts a smile on my face.”
Coaching at the camp has given Bettencourt thoughts about coaching basketball after her San Jose State playing days are over.
“(The camp) definitely gives me an idea of what coaching would be like, but just at a younger level and it’s more of a teaching level,” she said. “I see myself coaching someday; it’s definitely toward the top of my list of things I wanna do.”
Yumi Drossos, a guard who played on the Lady Trojans’ hoops squad last season, took part in the camp as a player for four years but served as a coach this time.
“I think it’s great that we get to work with the kids, and see what kind of players are coming up,” Drossos said. “I love working with kids. I think it’s a good experience.”
Drossos, who will be senior this fall, feels the pool of players has become much better than when she played prior to high school.
“I don’t think I was like that when I was younger,” Drossos said.